John Dennis, Pelosi Challenger, Campaigned at Cannabis & Hemp Expo

For all their passion, Tea Party members struggle with consistency: the cries for fiscal conservatism stop at national defense, where big spending is encouraged, and calls for personal freedoms stop at the war on drugs, where use of personal chemicals is restricted.

Not so for John Dennis. The San Francisco Republican – a frequent attendee of Tea Party events who is waging a perhaps quixotic war to unseat most-powerful San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi, to whom he has referred as a “wicked witch” – made a campaign stop Sunday at the Cow Palace, where the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo was in full swing. His campaign even altered its signage for the marijuana-appropriate occasion: instead of red, white and blue, the name John Dennis was featured next to Rastafarian red, gold and green. Instead of a star, there’s a pot leaf.

The new signage caught Dennis slightly off guard: “Volunteers in my campaign came up with the idea,” he said. “I didn’t even know they had made the posters [until the weekend], but I think it’s definitely appropriate for the venue.”

Dennis spent “about an hour” at the event on Sunday. While not every attendee was a San Francisco voter, Dennis says he was met with nothing but kindness and support.

“People were very mellow,” he said. “They were pleased we were picking up on this issue.”

While he says he neither partakes nor promotes use of the miracle plant – “I’m not telling people to go out and smoke pot, but if you do, it’s your choice and your responsibility” – the Pacific Heights resident has made his support of marijuana semi-legalization measure Proposition 19 no secret. He’s attended Americans for Safe Access meetings, and endorsed Proposition 19 as early as July.

However, Sunday’s stop was a definite step towards embracing the medical cannabis community, a voting bloc few would associate with the Tea Party movement. But for Dennis, it makes perfect sense.

“In 23 years in the House, what has Nancy Pelosi done for that crowd?” Dennis asked.

“80 percent of San Francisco voters say they think marijuana should be legal. She’s out of step [with her constituency].”

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!